How to Avoid the Most Common Employee Management Mistakes at All Costs

It’s not easy to keep your employees on task when running an inefficient organization. It’s hard enough to keep things running when you do things right. If you make common employee management mistakes, your job gets even more challenging.

It’s such a big problem that 85% of employees aren’t engaged in the workplace.

If employee management is a big challenge for you and your business, you need to change things up to start seeing improvements. Keep reading to learn several employee management mistakes you can’t afford to make.

Unclear Expectations

One of the most challenging parts of business ownership is communicating your expectations. You can assign tasks to your team to tell them what to do, but they may fail to complete their work if you don’t have expectations.

You need to be clear about the quality you want at the beginning. Tell your team how you want things done and the quality guidelines they need to meet.

Unless you do this, people will develop their own way of doing things. This is a problem when you need to send work to another team member or onboard new employees.

Clear expectations will keep everyone on the same page and help them know what they need to accomplish.

Providing Only Criticism

It’s easy to criticize an employee. You hired them to do the job, so it makes sense to do so after someone fails to complete a task correctly.

However, it’s an issue if all your team hears you do is complain. Everyone will make mistakes, and those mistakes will often happen if you have a large team. The only thing your team will hear from you is what they’re doing wrong.

While it’s fine to offer feedback when people do things wrong, you shouldn’t discount complimenting people when they do things right. A person hearing that they’re doing good is a big confidence booster. It will help them be more confident with their decisions and not hesitate to take action.

When someone is confident with what they do, it ultimately leads to fewer mistakes and higher quality work.

Zero Incentives

It’s hard to get excited to work when you don’t get much for it. A small raise every year isn’t enough for most people. They want more incentives for the amount of work they put in.

Not having incentives is a great way to kill the enthusiasm for your team. However, rewarding hard work and progress will push people to work harder and get more done.

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Here are a few examples of incentives you can use:

  • Bonuses
  • Remote work
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Company trips

What you can offer your team is limitless, so consider the type of people working for you and what they would enjoy.

No Advancement Opportunities

Even if you do offer incentives for high performance, that isn’t always enough for your employees. Most people don’t want to get stuck at the same job for their whole lives. They want to advance their career, make more money and have more impact.

You’ll lose your team members frequently to competitors if you have a workplace culture that doesn’t promote growth. That’s why it pays to let people expand their skills and work on new tasks.

It also pays to offer training for people who want to move forward. You can do this with online courses, in-person training, or business conferences.


Most people don’t enjoy people standing over their shoulders. They want the independence to work on their own. If you hover over your employees, that can’t happen.

All micromanaging does for most people is indicate that you don’t trust them. That alone is a significant factor in decreasing performance.

You hired your team members because you believed they could do the job, so give them the freedom to do so. It’s okay if you want to get an update on a task’s progress. Just don’t hover over your team every minute of the day.

Not Evaluating Performance

Making sweeping changes may feel good at the moment, but it doesn’t mean those changes will produce results. If you want to truly get the most from your team, you need to track those changes and measure performance.

Create a set of metrics to track and hold your team accountable to those metrics. Your goal is to measure performance over time to see how well your team performs.

Of course, don’t just decide on these metrics on your own. Talk to your employees to see what they believe is possible.

Go right here to learn more about performance monitoring.

Bad Communication

Communication is the most crucial part of a functional organization, but many managers don’t do it right. They just bark out orders and expect people to fall in line.

Having clear lines of communication is a more effective way of doing things. It’s still your job to give your team tasks. But allow your team to let you know what’s possible and what you can expect.

You should also make it clear that you’re open to constructive criticism. This will help your team feel more at home and willing to speak up about problems. Otherwise, they’ll stay silent and continue working at a diminished capacity.

It Takes Work to Get Good At Employee Management

It takes more than being good at a specific job to manage people doing the same thing. If all you do is tell people what to do, you won’t be able to build a great culture that pushes people to be their best. Avoid the employee management mistakes above to optimize the workplace for your team.

Head back to the blog to find more employee management tips that can help every small business owner.

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